As a relatively new company focused on helping the media industry fill their talent requirements, it sure has been an eye-opening experience. One that has given us a great bird’s eye view of staffing in media and, as a result, making us question what the new-age staffing policies are ultimately doing to the industry as a whole.
A wave of change has hit the media industry and most everyone seems to be struggling to some degree or another. One of the areas hardest hit is, unfortunately, the talent. What we are seeing is the expendability of the more seasoned talent, the lack of appreciation for their contributions, and the belief that people are disposable rather than being valued for the years of experience and expertise they bring. And sadly, all of this is mostly due to bottom-line, cost-saving measures.1
We have been watching, over the course of the last two years, a number of smart, experienced, capable people lose their jobs due to restructuring. And, to be clear, this is not because the majority of these people were no longer viable or weren’t happy in their jobs but, rather, it was far too often because they were perceived as being old and obsolete or targeted for being too handsomely compensated (with these two things often seen as going hand-in-hand). This is absolutely a short-term plan that will have significant long-term consequences.2
One of the major results of this staffing trend is the whole mid-management level being eliminated at an astonishing rate, which is having a negative impact overall. These are the people who make sure that the clients are serviced, that media gets properly planned and executed. These are the people who have the “street” knowledge. These are the people who understand business, who know how to build and maintain relationships with both suppliers and clients because they have spent years honing them. These are the people who know how to be client-facing, understand the significance of an email well written, the effectiveness of a good POV, have a concept of “dress code”, and who appreciate and value the importance of professionalism. These are the people who have made media their passion and, over the years, worked countless late nights and weekends to ensure that deadlines were met and clients kept happy.3
Consequently, what we are now seeing are companies with a whole lot of junior/intermediate staff who do not have anyone there to mentor or train them; no one there to help guide them through the day-to-day or teach them best practices. And, if anyone thinks that the up-and-comers are happy about this, they had better think again. Millennials and GenZs aren’t showing the same propensity for staying in a job if they are not happy, not learning, not challenged, or not being heard. As such, it is hardly surprising that there is an ever-increasing level of job dissatisfaction among them which, in turn, is creating a significant increase in staff turnover. Their expectations and wants may be different from those of the more mature employee, but they are also less apt to stick around waiting for them to be fulfilled. In this regard, perhaps they are smarter than their predecessors.
So ultimately the question is, what are agencies and clients doing to address the talent crisis that is currently happening in the media industry due to rampant ageism and sinking profits
Deborah Boudreau, a Founding Partner of Media Staffing Inc., has 25+ years of Media Sales and Management experience. She is also an Instructor for Centennial College’s Post-Graduate Media Management program.